Amid mounting pressure from all quarters to give the economy momentum, the government has decided to ease the ongoing lockdown that has brought daily life to a grinding halt since its enforcement on March 24.

Under the first phase of easing the lockdown, private vehicles and shops is said to be allowed operate under the odd-even rule from today in districts that have recorded fewer cases of COVID-19.

The official announcement of details is, however, awaited as the high-level committee to prevent and control Covid-19 has yet to prepare the protocol for opening shops and operating vehicles.

A Cabinet meeting held yesterday made the decision to this effect and further details of the decision is said to be announced today.

According to sources, the government will make an assessment of the COVID-19 situation after 21 days of the implementation of first-phase and accordingly announce further easing.

On May 30, the government had extended the nationwide lockdown for the seventh time till June 14. The extended lockdown sans any plans to manage the economy has deprived the poor and marginalised of their livelihoods for nearly three months now.

Private business, small and big, have been hit hard by the extended lockdown with national economy coming to a standstill. As traders started opening shops in Kathmandu in defiance of the lockdown for the past couple of days, police used force to shut the shops.

Yesterday, shopkeepers at major business hubs in Kathmandu staged a protest against the government, demanding to resume business at the earliest.